I got a direct mail advertisement from one of the new robo-advisory platforms. "Take the guesswork out of retirement!" It screamed.
That's awesome, I thought. So much of the future is uncertain, do these guys know something we don't? Here's the thing, all you have to know to plan a great retirement is the following:
What day are you going to die? Sorry to be so morbid, but we have to know how long the money has to last. But it's not just about you.
What date is your spouse going to die?
If you're not married yet, what date do you think your future spouse you haven't met yet is going to die?
What rate of return should we expect from the US stock markets over the next 60 years? What about the fixed income markets? Remember, I need exact numbers. I know we can guess, but we're trying to take the guesswork out of it.
What will your marginal tax rate be in your retirement years?
What will Social Security and Medicare provide at that time?
What will the interest rate environment look like in 2048?
At what age might your health prevent you from earning?
Exactly how much will the illness of a loved one (maybe a parent) interfere with your earning potential?
I went to the company's website to see what they had figured out. It turns out they don't really know either.